For over 150 years, forest stewardship and farming have been an important part of African American history. Following the Civil War, many African American families took to the land to seek their future. By 1910, black landowners had accumulated 15 million acres across the US South and by the 1920s, 14% of all farms in the US, nearly one million properties, were owned by black families. However, due to lack of legal resources, many landowners either never prepared a will or prepared a will naming all of their children as heirs. As these properties were passed down through the generations, the land became “heirs’ property,” and lacked clear title of ownership. The Sustainable Forest Initiative has partnered with three groups in the Southeast to help these families clear titles to their land and maintain vigorous, healthy trees. You can read more about this at TreeHugger here.

Natural longleaf pine forest in Alabama. Source: William Boyer, US Forest Service.